Omicron could have peaked in Auckland but caution urged

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield briefing the media on March 22, 2022 (Screen Grab)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, March 22, 2022

The number of Covid-19 cases has crossed the peak in Auckland but please be vigilant.

That was the message of Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield at the media conference held in Wellington on March 22, 2022.

He said that Auckland had recorded 20,907 new community cases overnight.

The number of people admitted to hospitals was 1016 all over the country, with the total number of new deaths reaching 15.

Dr Bloomfield said that the total number of cases was declining nationwide but not including Auckland. The cases increased just 1% during the seven days to 20 March, compared to a 44% increase in the week ending 13 March 2022.

“The pattern differs between District Health Boards, with the number of cases continuing to rise in the South Island. However, there are encouraging signs in the Midland and Wellington regions. The case numbers are as per the model for high transmission. Hospitalisation in the Northern region is levelling off,” he said.

Trends being studied

He said that health officials are watching the trends and expect the cases to drop this week.

“The average length of stay for people in Auckland hospitals is now 3.2 days compared to just over two days last month, and the average stay in intensive care is five days. This increase means that we now have people who need longer care, often from underlying conditions,” he said.

According to Dr Bloomfield, Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland continue to record the highest number of Emergency Department admissions with patients testing Covid-positive.

But these have also dropped from 40% last month to 28%, followed by Auckland Hospital (22% from 30%) and Waitemata Hospital (18%). Admissions in the rest of the country are growing and we will continue to see them grow,” he said.

Cases in Australia and UK

Dr Bloomfield said that the number of people hospitalised due to Covid in New South Wales has always remained above 950.

“The number of cases is now 1000 every day but the State of Victoria has declined to 200 cases daily. The number of cases affected with the BA.2 subvariant has been rising in the United Kingdom, with Scotland hit the hardest,” he said.

The government is considering the fourth Vaccine dose and that advice has been sought to prioritise vulnerable people including seniors.

Source: www.rnz.co.nz

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